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Hexavalent Chromium

Hexavalent Chromium - Cr(VI)

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is hexavalent chromium?

Hexavalent chromium is one of several oxidation states of the element chromium and is commonly used in chrome plating operations to deposit a corrosion-resistant coating on metal parts. Hexavalent chromium is also produced when chrome metal or alloys containing chrome metal are heated to high temperatures, such as during the welding of stainless steel.

What are the hazards associated with hexavalent chromium?

Cr(VI) is known to cause cancer. In addition, it targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes.

Is there a special emphasis program associated with this topic?

Occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium falls within the OSH Division health hazards special emphasis program.



What can I do to protect myself?

Employees working around chrome plating operations should ensure they are wearing the necessary personal protective equipment when working around these processes. Employees who are welding stainless steel and other high chromium content alloys should be sure to position the workpieces between themselves and the exhaust ventilation.

Your employer is required to provide respiratory protection in accordance with the respiratory protection standard, 29 CFR 1910.134, when ventilation is not sufficient to maintain your exposure below the permissible exposure limit.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Related presentations on welding and cutting for workplaces in general industry and construction, toxic and hazardous substances, respiratory protection, and hazard communication are available to assist employers to train their staff. The presentations should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards. 

In addition, example programs for hazard communication and respiratory protection can be used to assist employers in the development of their overall comprehensive safety and health program. A PPE hazard assessment  should be used to ensure that all PPE has been identified to protect the employee from exposure.

Additional resources can be found on the A-Z topics pages for respiratory protection, hazard communication, eyewash stations and emergency showers  and personal protective equipment. The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. Lastly, the consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.






Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards for occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium in North Carolina:

Other OSH standards referenced in the hexavalent chromium standards, or may be applicable include:

General Industry


Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to or by calling 919-707-7876.